Remember what Amalek did to you enroute as you came out of Egypt; how he met you on the way, and attacked the weak ones at your rear, when you were faint and weary; and he feared not God. Therefore it shall be, when the LORD your God has given you rest from all your enemies round about, in the land which the LORD you God gives you as an inheritance to possess it, that thou shall erase the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; you will not forget. Deuteronomy 25:17-19
What a strange Torah reading! What a contradictory text! How can Jews be held accountable to recall what Amalek did and yet also to erase any remembrance of them?
Although the episode happened to ancestors over 100 generations ago immediately after the Exodus from Egypt, the grievance the Jewish people has with Amalek is everlasting and personal. Jews must remember the episode as it was an act of pure evil. It was a surprise, unprovoked attack by Amalekites against weak, straggling ancestors of the Jewish people as they trekked through the desert. We cannot forget evil even as Torah tells us to erase remembrance of the Amelekites themselves.
Evil remains significant, evildoer identity is secondary.
So it is with , any evildoers. Were it not for their heinous acts, evildoers would not have any place in history. Pure evil must be obliterated or it may thrive. Perpetrators of evil deserve no effort to be remembered. Their deeds need to be remembered so they can be stopped.
Whether or not Amalek is a real nation or not is insignificant. The evil Amalek perpetrated was very real. People died because Amalek preyed on ancestors.
Just as lions monitor herds of animals to prey on their weakest, Amalek preyed. Their act on the weakest dehumanized us and made it a simpler step to attack unprovoked.
The world cannot sit idly by when forces of evil describe their intended victims as less than human. Bugs and rodents might be exterminated, but people? Yet the world sits idly by and watches. It watched Hitler, and later it watched atrocities in Biafra and Cambodia. Today it idly watches Hezbolah, Hamas, PFLP and other groups lob grenade and shoot missiles at civilian targets. It is suspected, as this column goes to press, that the missing Malaysian airline may have been hijacked. Evil is sadly doing too well.
To remember Amalek is not to remember history but to notice that Amalek remains active, albeit by a set of different names. We must act to prevent evil from ever gaining a toehold.
To erase the memory of Amalek is to avoid perpetuating names of heinous evildoers. Recognition leads to emulation. As members of a just society, we must do all we can to curtail the growth of Aevil, wherever it may occur.